Breathing for Anxiety: 4-7-8

Dealing with anxiety can feel like a monumental task. Between the over the top thinking and the physical need to run, or fight, it can be a lot to manage.

One of the things I use for my anxiety is ashwagandha. I have been taking it for almost 2 years and I have noticed a tangible difference in my physical symptoms.

Using this herbal supplement in addition to other self-care techniques has really helped me manage my symptoms through some of the toughest of panic attacks.

Today we are going to talk breathing.

Why Breathing?

When anxiety starts, breathing becomes shallow. By using slow and focused breathing, oxygen supply to the brain is increased which increases activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system that creates a state of calmness.

Additionally, as you breathe, it focuses your mind away from the things causing your anxiety and connects you to your body. When we think of grounding, connection to our body is very important.

4 – 7 – 8

This technique I am about to explain is actually quite well-known so I will not be surprised to learn many of you have heard about this. I can’t stress enough however, if you have never employed this technique, now is as good a time as any because it works!

I have used this breathing count quite a few times through my healing journey. Once while sitting in the waiting room before a therapy appointment, in my car, and yes, at work.

How it Works

Find somewhere comfortable to sit and get situated. Exhale all of your breath, touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth just behind your teeth and:

4 – breathe in through your nose to the count of four

7 – hold that breath to the count of seven

8 – exhale through your mouth making a sound as you blow your breath through your lips to the count of eight.

Repeat this breathing cycle (4-6 times).

It Isn’t an Easy Button & It Takes Practice

Employing this breathing technique isn’t going to suddenly make the situation causing you anxiety go away. It will however help you calm down the shaking, the shallow breathing, the pensive knot in your stomach, the chaotic thoughts, the constant shots of adrenaline.

Once you get a handle on that, you can try to face your situation with a more clear mind, and an understanding that you have a tool in your kit to handle anything thrown at you.

And don’t forget to practice during times when you aren’t experiencing anxiety to build your skills for coping.

Do you ever use breathing techniques to calm anxiety?

One thought on “Breathing for Anxiety: 4-7-8

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  1. I’ve tried various counted breathing techniques during yoga classes. For some reason, they tended to make me feel gaspy, and for me personally, belly breathing has been more helpful.

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